Thursday, January 24, 2013

For Mercy’s Sake

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 5:7).

In the tenth chapter of the book of Luke, Jesus used an illustration of a man that was beaten by robbers and thieves and left for dead as he was traveling down a very dangerous stretch of road from Jerusalem to Jericho to give His disciples some lessons on mercy. Let’s look into this part of Scripture to find some treasures about how God’s love wants to bring forth a desire in us for a new life that is filled with mercy for those around us because of the mercy we find in Christ.

The Scripture reveals a man traveling but has a terrible fall. Many people in this world occasionally fall down in life. As the Lord’s church, we have an opportunity to reach out to them and try to give them a chance to get back up on their feet. The world in which we live is full of potholes and other obstacles that will cause many to miss out on the stability of a life that is in step with Christ. Paul said there would be people who would be “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:4). This kind of lifestyle will always lead many away from God’s grace. You and I have a great opportunity to display the mercy of Christ by taking the time necessary to reach out to them and teach them about a Savior that wants to lead them out of that desecrating life. We cannot just walk past them and hope something good will come their way. Remember that God sent His children to “seek and to find that which is lost” (Luke 19:10). Any soul that has fallen away from God and into the grips of the power of the world needs mercy.

Also, we see that this man who has fallen has also been stripped and beaten by the world. This is a true indicator of how the evil one uses the world to deceive our hearts. He tricks us into believing that the world is our friend and that good things can come to those who put their trust in man. Many of us have seen people that have put all their money into a “no lose” situation only to see their riches be stolen from their fingertips. Or we have seen people in marriage relationships where spousal abuse has replaced what was once portrayed as love. These are just a couple of instances where we can easily see the world leaving our friends and maybe even family stripped and beaten. But this can be an opportunity to teach them about an unchangeable Lord: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Although the world and its elements are in a constant mode of change, our faith is placed in God, Who’s given us His love that never changes. What He reveals to us today is eternal and we can take that to the bank.

Notice also that this man was left for dead which reveals another opportunity for the church. Many in this world have been searching for Christ but instead have found their way to the deception of the false teachers of this world. And although the message of the false teacher may be sincere, since it is not biblical it can only lead one to death. Our opportunity here is to reveal the truth one can only find through faith in God’s word. When Jesus prayed for unity, the source of that unity is God’s word (John 17:17). People who are spreading the disease of false teachings should be held in special regard: “As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” (Galatians 1:9). Paul’s heart was broken to see some Christians being tricked to believe in another way of salvation, although it was similar to what he knew to be truth. The Lord’s church has many opportunities to reveal mercy to those who are being misled and left for dead. Our prayer is that each member of the Lord’s church is taking these opportunities to show mercy to those left for dead by preaching the truth of God’s love being revealed to mankind through His Son’s blood.

In His Grace,

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